6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

Where to see the best daffodils in Kent

PUBLISHED: 15:14 05 March 2016 | UPDATED: 17:20 05 March 2016

Host of golden daffodils

Host of golden daffodils

Archant

Golden, cream or white carpets abound to herald that spring is here. Kent Life suggests three gardens to visit where these nodding harbingers take centre stage

Daffodils are the stars this month, forming golden carpets in the landscape and shimmering translucently when backlit by sunlight. These versatile bulbs are easy to grow, long lived, increase naturally, stand up to all the elements, and can be used in different ways in the garden.

With hundreds of varieties the choice is vast. To gain inspiration for their use, take a stroll around some of the gardens that open to 
celebrate this spring scene. Here are three Kent examples not to miss this month.

Stonewall Park, Chiddingstone Hoath, TN8 7DG

A romantic woodland garden, home to the Fleming family, with fine mature deciduous trees and thousands of naturalised daffodils, possibly from as early as 1860.

This is a truly timeless garden to wander in, exploring the meandering paths down to the lake, admiring the bobbing heads in cream and gold, budding rhododendrons, camellias and the odd vibrant clusters of Pieris japonica blooms.

The vagaries of the weather make it difficult to predict the exact peak time but if you are lucky, 19 March when the garden opens with the National Garden Scheme could be just right to see the glorious seas of daffodils in this 
picturesque landscape.

Opening: NGS Saturday 19 March (2pm-5pm), 
Admission £5, children free, www.ngs.org.uk

Godinton House and Gardens, Ashford, TN23 3BP

Godinton, now in the care of the Godinton House Preservation Trust, offers country charm with its mix of formal and informal gardens set around a striking Jacobean house.

Areas include a walled garden that contains cut flowers and vegetables as well as The Delphinium Society’s collection, a rose garden, an Italian garden flanked with statuary, a Pan garden, a lily pond created from a swimming pool and herbaceous borders.

At its best now is the wild garden with massed daffodils that have naturalised over decades. Each year further bulbs are added to increase the stock of old varieties. There are also tulips, anemones, fritillaries, chionodoxa and primroses.

Openings: Garden 1 March to 1 November, www.godintonhouse.co.uk; National Gardens Scheme, Sundays 6, 20 March (1pm-6pm), Adm £5, children free.

Leeds Castle, Maidstone, ME17 1PL

The daffodils here that carpet the grounds overlook a setting that is very hard to beat; with watery views, cherry blossom on the bough against ancient stone walls and the fairytale Leeds Castle itself, built in 1119. Naturalised daffodils, believed to be a wild Kent variety, cascade down the banks to the moat, form clumps in the woodland and edge the streams.

Accompanying them are dainty blue and white Anemone blanda, fresh leaves unfurling on trees and emerging perennials.

Blessed with diverse habitats and microclimates, along with a variety of soils, from sand to richer loam, allows a wide range of plants to thrive in the different garden areas that include the naturalistic parkland and the more formal Culpepper Garden. At every turn are postcard views. Do allow plenty of time to also explore the yew maze and the medieval castle. w

Openings: year round, (10am-5pm), Admission £24, children £16, www.leeds-castle.com. Easter Through the Looking Glass, 25 to 28 March, Easter trail.

Stonewall Park, Chiddingstone Hoath, TN8 7DG

A romantic woodland garden, home to the Fleming family, with fine mature deciduous trees and thousands of naturalised daffodils, possibly from as early as 1860.

This is a timeless garden to wander in, exploring the meandering paths down to the lake, admiring the bobbing heads in cream and gold, budding rhododendrons, camellias and the odd vibrant clusters of Pieris japonica blooms. The vagaries of the weather make it difficult to predict the peak time but if you are lucky, 19 March when the garden opens with the National Garden Scheme could be just right to see the glorious seas of daffodils in this picturesque landscape.

Opening: NGS Saturday 19 March (2pm-5pm), Admission £5, children free, www.ngs.org.uk

Get the look

• Daffodils come in a variety of shapes and colours, from the common yellow to whites and pinks, with singles, doubles or split-coronas

• There is great diversity in daffodils, from the antique to the latest developments

• Bulb, flower and foliage are poisonous so it’s one the rodents and deer leave alone

• Buy from a reputable supplier of bulbs

• Well-drained soil, sun or light shade

• If soil is heavy, mix grit into base of planting hole

• August and September best months to plant

• Plant at depth three times height if bulb in beds, borders or containers

• Don’t plant where ground can be waterlogged

• Flowers will always face the sun

• Plant in drifts, in garden beds, under deciduous trees or naturalised in grass

• Plant deeper in lawns, 15cm

• Older varieties naturalise best

• After flowering, keep watered and fed with high potash, until leaves die back

• Preserve the strength of the bulb by deadheading spent blooms and allowing the foliage to die down naturally

• Need the energy from the foliage to the bulb to produce next year’s flowers

• Grow some in pots to control the conditions, about five bulbs to each container or mix with other spring bulbs

• Remove and burn any bulbs with diseased foliage.

• Divide over-crowded clumps late summer and replant offsets.

• Varieties to try – pure white ‘Ice Follies’, white with orange rimmed centre ‘Pheasant Eye’, white with yellow centre ‘Air Castle’, miniature ‘Tete A Tete’, fluted ‘Orangery’, double ‘Unique’

Did you know?

• Daffodils are divided into 13 divisions, based mainly on flower form, such as trumpet, large-cupped, double, split-corona

• There are more than 50 species and 25,000 varieties

• The name ‘daffodil’ was first recorded in 1538, earlier it was called ‘affodell’

• Other names include jonquil, narcissus and paperwhite

• Daffodils were brought to Britain by the Romans as they thought the sap had healing powers

Plant of the month

Corylopsis gotoana

Winter hazel

• One of the first spring flowering shrubs

• Deciduous shrub

• Showy, fragrant flowers

• Bees love it

Growing notes

• Thrives on acidic well-drained soils

• Sun to part shade

• Average water needs

• Can be used as hedge or grown to small tree

• Propagate from softwood cuttings or seeds

• Needs little pruning

Jobs to be done

• Time to get outside and tidy the garden. Deal with weeds as they come back into growth. Lift and divide overgrown clumps of perennials.

• Mulch the borders. Mow the lawn if needed. Paint some pots and plant up spring combinations or transform some tired furniture with a fresh coat of paint

• Remove any dead, diseased stems from roses. Prune bush roses back to an outward-facing bud. Shorten by around a third as they will flower best on new shoots. Feed with a specialist fertiliser

• Plant deciduous trees and shrubs, hedges, container grown herbaceous and rockery plants.

• Start sowing hardy annuals. Plant summer bulbs and corms such as gladioli, dahlias and crocosmia.

More from Homes & Gardens

Friday, July 5, 2019

Kent Life has teamed up with Libra to give two lucky readers the chance to win a £500 voucher to spend at Libra, Fenwick Canterbury

Read more
Monday, July 1, 2019

Thinking of moving to or within Kent? Every month we pick three stunning houses for sale that we're sure you'll love

Read more
Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Kent has a wealth of beautiful gardens to visit and throughout the open garden season you'll find an array of stunning choices. Here's a selection of our favourites

Read more
April 2019
Monday, May 20, 2019

The gardens at Ladham House combine traditional English garden style with contemporary schemes

Read more
May 2019

It's our 10th year of the Kent Life Garden of the Year Awards and we want to make it an extra special one across all three categories, so start planning your entry now

Read more

Kent Gardens Trust reveals new discoveries about landscape gardener Humphry Repton's influence in Kent in his bicentenary year

Read more
February 2019

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life